Author Brian Eule is no disinterested observer of the process whereby medical students become new doctors. His wife, Stephanie, is among the three female doctors he follows from Match Day, the March event that matches medical students to their first jobs as doctors, through their difficult first year as residents. Eule?s primary concern, and a very personal one, is the struggle these doctors go through in balancing the grueling, almost around-the-clock demands of being first-year residents with their desire to have a family life outside the hospital. Eule?s detailed look at Match Day describes how would-be doctors choose their medical specialties (some, like dermatology, are more lifestyle friendly) and how they select the hospitals where they?d like to work. Eule, for example, shows how Rakhi and her husband, Scott, clash over whether Rakhi should pursue her medical residency in the same city where Scott would be studying economics. Eule also shows readers two romantically entangled doctors, Michele and Ted, as they separate because of the pressures of balancing medicine against the need for more togetherness. In the book?s best moments, Eule shows how these residents cope with the brutal hours, the relatively low pay, and the everyday reality of death. “Residents needed to learn how to give bad news to patients,” writes Eule, “They needed to know how to tell a family when a loved one had died.” What Eule effectively communicates is that being a young doctor places tremendous stress on the doctor, as well as the people who love them.
About the Writer
Chuck Leddy is a member of the National Book Critics Circle who writes frequently about American history. He reviews books regularly for The Boston Globe, as well as Civil War Times and American History magazines. He is a contributing editor for The Writer magazine.